ORANGEBURG, S.C. — National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week usually falls on the week of Thanksgiving, but Orangeburg County is expanding the campaign for the entire month.
"When thinking of about Orangeburg County and how big it is with those 17 towns, there are homeless people in those towns," said Henry Miller, Executive Director of The Samaritan House. "Orangeburg is a big county, and it does have a homeless situation that many people may not be aware of. In Orangeburg, you may see people walking down the street, giving the impression they are getting exercise or going somewhere. In reality, that may be someone who is homeless and is looking for a place to stay."
The Samaritan House in Orangeburg is hosting a series of awareness events and fundraisers for the next two weeks to help the shelter's mission to serve those facing homelessness. The shelter's executive director says the events help provide extra resources to keep the shelter open.
"You have to think about things the shelter needs," said Miller. "For example, you may not think pillows are needed at a shelter, but it is. Residents come to stay for a time, and then when they leave, we don't reuse those pillows."
The first event is on Thursday at the Downtown Market Pavillion. Other events include a radio tele-a-thon and city and county elected officials coming together to proclaim November as Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Month. The Samaritan House asks for the public's support with either food, paper goods, or money. Miller says he wants people to understand that homelessness doesn't discriminate.
"We had since we have been open about 170 people come through," explained Miller. "We've had about 25 kids, 50 women, but the majority of the residents have been men."